The currency in Croatia is Croatian kuna (HRK), but since Croatia is a tourist country many businesses also accept the euro (EUR). In this article you will find an overview of everything related to Croatian kuna: where to convert money, cash, credit card payment options, advice for travellers and other useful information.
Need specific info? Here are shortcuts to everything you will find in the text: About Kuna – Croatian Currency, Can You Use Euros in Croatia, Money in Croatia: Cash or Credit Card; Exchanging Kuna Currency: Best Rates, Exchange Offices, ATM’s and Banks, Croatian Kuna: Dormice, Haircuts and Other Interesting Facts.
- What currency is used in Croatia?
- Can you use euros in Croatia?
- What is the best currency to take to Croatia?
- Money advice for cruise ship travellers to Dubrovnik
- Croatian Currency converter options
- Money in Croatia: cash or credit card?
- Can you exchange kuna outside Croatia?
- Where to find the Croatian National Bank exchange rate?
- Exchanging kuna currency: best rates, exchange offices, ATMs and banks
- Bitcoin in Croatia
- Will Croatia join the Eurozone?
- Currency in Croatia – interesting facts
- Currency in Croatia: the one thing money cannot buy
What currency is used in Croatia?
The unit of currency in Croatia is the Croatian kuna, which was introduced to the newly independent country in 1994, replacing the Croatian dinar (which was introduced to replace the Yugoslav dinar) at a rate of 1 kuna for 1000 dinar. The current plans are for the Croatian kuna to be replaced by Euro at the beginning of 2023, when Croatia enters the Eurozone. The official rate at which the exchange will happen will be 7,53450 kuna per euro.
Kuna literally means ‘marten’, a throwback to earlier times when the currency of the region was animal skins, and marten pelts were considered valuable.
It is often abbreviated to KN or HRK (Hrvatska kuna). One kuna is sub-divided into 100 lipa (which means linden tree).
One theory about the naming of the lipa is that linden trees were traditionally planted around marketplaces.
Banknote kuna come in denominations 5 (now discontinued), 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and (if you are very lucky) 1,000, as well as coins of 1, 2 and 5 (and very, very often one might come across the octangular 25 kuna coin, but don’t get your hopes up – most Croatians haven’t seen it either!).
Lipa come in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 coins, although the smaller ones are hardly seen these days, and indeed shops will often round the bill down to avoid dealing with them.
Can you already use euros in Croatia?
Yes… and no. OFFICIALLY, it is still illegal to do any transactions in anything but the national Croatian currency, the kuna. Until January 1st, 2023, when the euro will be introduced in Croatia. In practice, as is often the way in Croatia, there are ways around this.
Property sales, for example, are often done in euro, and contract prices are often written in euro, but with a clause saying the euro price can convert into kuna at the day’s rate of the Croatian national bank.
Tourism plays a major part in Croatia’s economy (20% of GDP), which means there is accordingly certain flexibility from tourist businesses in accepting foreign currencies.
Shops, restaurants, bars and hotels may well accept foreign currency (euro is best, then probably US dollars and British pounds), although the rate will often be poorer.
For example, the euro to kuna exchange rate normally hovers around 7.5 kuna for one euro, and shops may round that down to 7.0 (the official rate of exchange once the euro is introduced will be 7.53450). Credit cards in Croatia are changing.
What is the best currency to take to Croatia?
While the kuna is the best currency to have in Croatia as the only legal tender, the best foreign currency undoubtedly by far is the euro, followed by US dollars and British pounds.
Please note that you cannot change not all currencies in Croatian banks, so also check before you travel.
I was a little surprised to find that I could not exchange my excess dirhams after a trip to Dubai, for example.
Banks usually have a list of the major currencies they access on the wall of the bank.
Money advice for cruise ship travellers to Dubrovnik
Cruise tourism is big business in Croatia, with up to a million people every year cruising to Dubrovnik alone.
Often this is the only stop in Croatia, and there are plenty of Google searches from cruise tourists asking if they can use euro in Dubrovnik, especially as it is the legal tender in neighbouring cruising countries.
The answer is above, that officially everything is in kuna and must be done in kuna, but major foreign currencies, in particular the euro, are readily accepted by tourist businesses catering to the cruise tourism business.
Balance the money you will lose with a poorer conversion rate with the hassle of physically changing the money to decide whether or not you want the euro or kuna to be your currency in Croatia.
Croatian Currency converter options
There are many online converter options for currency in Croatia. I always use xe.com. Click here to get your latest rates.
Money in Croatia: cash or credit card?
Cash or credit card – the eternal question: which then is the best to travel with in Croatia?
The best answer is a combination of the two.
In general, credit cards are widely accepted in Croatia, but not as widespread as one might think for such a major tourist destination, and some restaurants even in top destinations such as Hvar and Dubrovnik do not accept credit cards, so it is wise to check before you sit and order.
It used to be quite common in Croatia to be offered a better cash price for goods and services, although this is less the case these days.
Also, keep in mind that tipping in Croatia (read more about it in our article) should always be done using cash money, as it’s not possible to add the tips to your credit card.
Can you exchange kuna outside Croatia?
Yes… and no.
The general rule is that if you can change kuna outside Croatia, you will get a significantly worse rate. In many cases, you will not be able to change at all.
Travel bureaux in places like London will accept them at poor rates, but I have been surprised at how hard it is to exchange kuna much closer to home.
Montenegro, for example, has some banks which will accept them, but more which will not.
But for the help of a friend in Prague a couple of years ago, I would have been in real trouble as all I had in my pocket were kuna. And no amount of cool haircuts on the banknotes managed to persuade anyone to exchange.
I did, however, have better luck in Budapest.
One country where the currency in Croatia is more widely accepted is the Croatian part of Bosnia and Hercegovina.
Until recently, it was common to pay for services in kuna in Hercegovina, although things have tightened recently. But there is no problem exchanging kuna for Bosnian marks in banks.
The best advice then – change your kuna before you leave Croatia.
Where to find the Croatian National Bank exchange rate?
All official money exchanges are according to the daily rate of the Croatian National Bank, which publishes a buying, selling and middle rate for all major currencies. Check out the latest official exchange rates from Croatian National Bank.
Exchanging kuna currency: best rates, exchange offices, ATMs and banks
In general, banks will give you a better exchange rate than exchange offices, and both may or may not charge a commission accordingly (or build their profit into a lower rate).
ATMs are another option for dispensing cash, although please note that ONLY kuna will be dispensed. There are a couple of euro ATMs in Zagreb, but only for clients of that bank with a euro account.
ATMs in Croatia all have an English-language option. ATMs in Croatia have various exchange rates and/or commissions, so beware when you’re taking your money – some of them will give you far worse terms than any ATM by any ‘proper’ Croatian bank. Also, you can get your funds from your Revolut, Curve or Monese account from them as well. Just make sure you refuse the “DCC” (Dynamic Currency Conversion) when prompted in order to get the good conversion rates.
Please note that daily withdrawal limits of between 1,600 and 2,000 kuna apply on most ATMs, however.
If you want more, you will need to have to take your card into the bank and request assistance.
If you are exchanging kuna to buy foreign currency in Croatia, plan ahead as the banks do not always have reserves of even the most mainstream currencies.
I was shocked a couple of years ago that I could not buy £3,000 of British sterling at a major bank in the centre of Diocletian’s Palace in Split. They only had £10 in the bank in pounds sterling. As a result, they told me to come back 24 hours later, which was too late. And this was before Brexit!
Fortunately, the private exchange offices managed to get the cash, but not without a few phone calls. Banks can usually react to bigger foreign currency transactions within 24 hours, but it pays to check and plan ahead.
Where to get the best rate for Croatian kuna? At home or abroad?
In general, you will get the best kuna exchange rate on arrival in Croatia, but many tourists prefer to be more organised and have their local cash already sorted out.
Although kuna are not widely available beyond Croatia’s borders, they can be bought in advance, including a growing number of online options.
This money comparison website has ten online options, for example, showing exchange rates, but also home much cash you will be left with once any commissions are taken into account.
Bitcoin in Croatia
No guide on money and currency in 2021 would be complete without mention the option of dealing with Bitcoin while in Croatia. As most people who own and deal with Bitcoin know already, there are ATMs which allow you to buy and sell your Bitcoin (so-called 2-way ATMs). At the moment of this writing, there aren’t that many of such Bitcoin ATMs available in Croatia. Several different websites provide the lists and maps of various Bitcoin ATM’s, and we direct you to check some of them: CoinATMRadar or honorarniposao.net (Croatian-language site). What both of those sites will tell you is that you can sell or purchase Bitcoin in Croatia on ATMs in Zagreb, Pula, Rijeka and Split. The commissions for the transactions are as per usual, and you will need your smartphone to finish the transaction.
You can also buy or sell your Bitcoin in one of the three Bitcoin Stores in Croatia.
Bitcoin and Croatian Post
In addition to that, The Croatian Post has introduced their Crypto Center, a service which allows you to exchange your Bitcoin into Croatian Kuna in 55 of their offices. Their commission is around 6%, and the transaction cannot be anonymous (you need to identify yourself in order to receive the Croatian currency from them). Please take a look at the map below to find the offices where it’s possible to do this:
Purchasing Goods Using Bitcoin in Croatia
If you want to use your Bitcoin wallet to purchase stuff directly with Bitcoin in Croatia, you will have options to do so. There just won’t be that many options.
You will be able to buy a car using Bitcoin in Croatia. Additionally, more than 25 different companies in Croatia have subscribed to the FimaPay. All of those merchants will allow you to pay for the goods and services using cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin and others. Several other significant coin exchanges have entered the Croatian market as well, but that happened just before the pandemic so they haven’t been able to get a larger market share. At some point it was possible to pay with Bitcoin in Croatia in several hotels, such as Hotel Navis in Opatija. Other than that, there are many places where you’ll be able to pay using your Bitcoin wallet directly: MP Elektronika and UziShop, and several others.
Will Croatia join the Eurozone?
Is Croatia in the EU, Schengen or Eurozone? These are topics which confuse many visitors.
As of time of writing (December 2018), Croatia has been in the EU since July 1, 2013, is not yet in the Schengen zone, and it is currently not in the Eurozone. However, it is expected that Croatia will join the Eurozone, thus adopting euro as the official currency, on January 1st, 2023.
For the latest news follow the TCN dedicated section.
Currency in Croatia – interesting facts
A mildly interesting curiosity about Croatian coins is that those minted in odd years are named after plants and animals in Croatian, whereas those in even years are named in Latin.
Is this the coolest haircut EVER on a banknote?
There are many things you can do with a 500-kuna note, which is also worth about 70 euro. One thing is just to admire surely the coolest haircut on a banknote ever. More details on the (all men) people on Croatian banknotes below.
Croatian money – who is on the banknotes?
Looking at Croatian banknotes, it might seem that this is a very male-dominated society, where facial hair is a sign of power.
Only famous Croatian males are on the banknotes of the currency in Croatia, and the larger the banknote, the more facial hair.
So while some may see this all-male portrayal as sexist, another explanation could be… There are no famous Croatian women with beards…
So who is on the notes and what are the locations on the back of the banknotes?
1000 kuna Ante Starčević (Statue of King Tomislav and Zagreb Cathedral)
500 kuna Marko Marulić (Diocletian’s Palace in Split)
200 kuna Stjepan Radić (The army building in Tvrdja, Osijek)
100 kuna Ban Ivan Mažuranić (St. Vitus Cathedral in Rijeka)
50 kuna Ivan Gundulić (Old City of Dubrovnik)
20 kuna Ban Josip Jelačić (Eltz Manor in Vukovar)
10 kuna Bishop Juraj Dobrila (Pula Arena and Town Plan of Motovun)
5 kuna Fran Krsto Frankopan and Petar Zrinski (Old Town Fort in Varaždin) – this note is no longer available.
Euro to kuna exchange rates over the last 10 years
The kuna is closely aligned to the euro, as you can see from this 10-year historical look at exchange rates.
For the latest exchange rates for the Croatian kuna and all historical data on exchange rates, visit www.xe.com
Pounds to kuna exchange rates over the last 10 years
I bought my house in Croatia in 2002, when the rate was 11.5 kuna to the British pound back then. Ah, those were the days.
Dollar to kuna exchange rates over the last 10 years
And the dollar, too, has had its ups and downs, affecting the amount of tourist spending power from visitors from the United States, who will number about 600,000 in 2018
A Croatian currency especially for the edible dormouse
So is the kuna the only currency in Croatia? Well. yes… officially. But if you find yourself on the island of Hvar one August, you can attend one of the country’s strangest festivals, complete with its very own money.
The Puhijada, or edible dormouse festival, is a week-long celebration of the traditions and heritage of the inland village of Dol.
Dol is one of three places in Croatia (Dol on Brač and Gorski Kotar are the others) where locals hunt and eat the edible dormouse (‘puh’ in Croatian), and the final night of the festival also includes dozens of dormice on the grill.
You can buy dormice with the Superpuh currency (Super Dormouse), where the fixed exchange rate is 5 kuna to one superpuh. Never been to an edible dormouse festival then? It is something like this video below.
Currency in Croatia: the one thing money cannot buy
And you thought money can buy everything. Well, not in Croatia, and perhaps a fitting way to end this thorough guide about the currency in Croatia would be with a well-known Croatian phrase, which locals often use to admire the beauty of this extraordinarily gorgeous country. When looking at yet another spectacular view or sunset, locals often exclaim:
Ko to more platit – Who can pay that, or, quite simply, priceless.
But there are not enough banknotes in the world to be able to buy that beauty.